What Can Bakuchiol Do for My Skin?
Written by: Brianna Peters
Updated: July 26, 2022
The no pain, no gain theory doesn’t always hold when it comes to skin care, and the star youth-boosting ingredient bakuchiol is a case in point. Hailed as a way to get retinol-like results (wrinkle-smoothing, skin-firming) without the dryness and irritation that some people experience when using retinol, bakuchiol, a meroterpene extracted from the plant Psorelea corylifolia (called bakuchi in Sanskrit), has been used in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries, and it really delivers.
In a twelve-week clinical study in The British Journal of Dermatology comparing bakuchiol and retinol, participants treated with bakuchiol saw major improvement in fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity, and firmness. What they didn’t see, notably, were the undesirable effects associated with retinol, like irritation, redness, and skin sensitivity.
“The clinical results we saw with bakuchiol made it a perfect ingredient for GOOPGENES face oil,” says goop’s senior manager of product development, Colleen Cun. We wanted a face oil that went beyond simply moisturizing skin to deliver long-term youth-boosting results, and we wanted it to work for every skin type.
“In our clinical study, 100 percent of our test subjects showed significant improvement in skin texture (softer and smoother),” says Cun. “Ninety-seven percent showed significant improvement in the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles after using the oil for four weeks.* And it works for every skin type—even those that can’t tolerate retinol.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, bakuchiol is infused into some of the most powerful (yet counterintuitively gentle) clean skin treatments out there.
FOR RESULTS WITHOUT RETINOL
Oilgoop Beauty GOOPGENES All-in-One Super Nutrient Face Oil goop, $98/$89 with subscriptionSHOP NOW
SerumBeautycounter Countertime Tripeptide Radiance Serum goop, $87SHOP NOW
Wild-Crafted Gel-CreamAlpyn Beauty PlantGenius Melt Moisturizer goop, $60SHOP NOW
Plumping Eye CreamPlantkos Phyto Vitality Eye Cream goop, $73SHOP NOW
Rich, Thick MoisturizerBeautycounter Countertime Tetrapeptide Supreme Cream goop, $98SHOP NOW
Lightweight LotionPlantkos Phyto A Face Lotion goop, $67SHOP NOW
BAKUCHIOL-INTENSIVE REPLENISHING MASKS
SoothingAlpyn Beauty Calming Midnight Mask with Melatonin & Wild Dandelion goop, $68SHOP NOW
MoisturizingFollain Ultra Hydrating Mask goop, $34SHOP NOW
BONUS: THE NEW EXFOLIATING JELLY ANY SKIN TYPE CAN USE
Made with natural fruit enzymes and bitter orange peel to gently polish away impurities, this daily cleanser feels delightfully springy and soft on skin, then rinses off easily to leave skin fresh, silky-smooth, and glowing. Arctic cloudberry—it’s packed with omega-3s and omega-6s, along with vitamins C and E—nourishes skin, while sugarcane-derived squalane moisturizes and soothes and vitamin C–rich Australian kakadu plum ramps up radiance. The foamless jelly formula is gentle enough to use twice a day, even in a routine with AHA, BHA, or vitamin C treatments.
THE ULTIMATE YOUTH-BOOSTING CREAM: MINERAL SUNSCREEN
Nothing preserves youthful skin like a daily sunscreen habit. Though bakuchiol doesn’t leave skin sensitive to the sun the way retinol can, always follow any skin-care routine with mineral sunscreen, which helps soothe even the most sensitive skin (many chemical sunscreens contain known irritants), helps protect against both UVA and UVB rays, and doesn’t kill coral. Tip: The “active ingredients” box on the label of a mineral formula will contain only titanium dioxide or zinc oxide (or both)—if there are any other ingredients in the box, it’s got chemical sunscreen in it.
*Based on an eight-week third-party consumer-perception and clinical study of thirty-three women ages thirty-five to sixty-five.